Book Recommendations

Fifth Grade Booklist

The titles on this list were selected as the “Best of the Best” for fifth grade reading. They were selected for their appeal to fifth graders and because they are on a fifth grade reading level.

Not included on this list are the Newbery Award winners and Beehive Award winners. These titles appear on separate lists available in the library.

The Naked MoleRat Letters

By Mary Amato

When her father begins a long distance

romance with a Washington, D.C.

zookeeper, twelve year old

Frankie sends fabricated email letters to the

zookeeper in an attempt to end the relationship.


Peter and the Starcatchers

By Dave Barry

Soon after Peter, an orphan, sets sail from England on the ship Never Land,

he befriends and assists Molly, a young Starcatcher, whose mission is to

guard a trunk of magical stardust from a greedy pirate and the native

inhabitants of a remote island.


Chasing Vermeer

By Blue Balliett

When strange and seemingly unrelated events start to happen and a precious

Vermeer painting disappears, eleven year olds

Petra and Calder combine

their talents to solve an international art scandal.


The House With a Clock in Its Walls

By John Bellairs

A boy goes to live with his magician uncle in a mansion that has a clock

hidden in the walls which is ticking off the minutes until doomsday. Beware

this one is a little scary!



The Children of Green Knowe

By L.M. Boston

Tolly comes to live with his great-grandmother at the ancient house of Green

Knowe, and becomes friends with three children who lived there in the 17 th



The Fairy Tale Detectives: The Sisters Grimm #1

By Michael Buckley

Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric

grandmother that they have always believed to be dead. They move to

Ferryport Landing where fairy tale characters such as Snow White and the

Big Bad Wolf reside as citizens.


No Talking

By Andrew Clements

The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the

equally loud fifth grade girls to a "no talking" contest. Could you be silent

for two whole days? Read to see who wins!


HalfMoon Investigations

By Eoin Colfer

Twelve year old private investigator Fletcher Moon, nicknamed "Half

Moon" because of his shortness, must track down a conspiracy or be framed

for a crime he did not commit.


The Castle Corona

By Sharon Creech

Two orphaned peasant children discover a mysterious pouch, the contents of

which lead them to the majestic Castle Corona, where their lives may be

transformed forever.


Elijah of Buxton

By Christopher Paul Curtis

In 1859, eleven year old Elijah Freeman, the first freeborn

child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American south,

uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen

money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.


The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger’s Apprentice #1

By John Flanagan

When fifteen year old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the

reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting

the kingdom from danger.


The Top 10 Ways to Ruin the First Day of 5 th Grade

By Ken Derby

Follows the humorous attempts of fifth grader Anthony "TB" Madison to

become a guest on his favorite television show, "The Late Show with David




By Cornelia Funke

Twelve year old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books

for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those

characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.


My Side of the Mountain

By Jean Craighead George

A young boy relates his adventures during the year he spends living alone in

the Catskill Mountains, including his struggle for survival, his dependence

on nature, his animal friends, and his ultimate realization that he needs

human companionship.


Dragon Slippers

By Jessica Day George

Orphaned after a fever epidemic, Creel befriends a dragon and unknowingly

inherits an object that can either save or destroy her kingdom.



By Roderick Gordon

When Will Burrows and his friend Chester embark on a quest to find Will's

archaeologist father, who has inexplicably disappeared, they are led to a

labyrinthine world underneath London, full of sinister inhabitants with evil

intentions toward "Topsoilers" like Will and his father.



Getting Air

By Dan Gutman

After foiling a terrorist hijacking aboard their airplane, fourteenyearold

Jimmy, his younger sister, and two skateboarding friends crashland

the plane and try to survive in a forest wilderness until help arrives.



By Anthony Horowitz

After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteenyearold

Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's

intelligence agency, MI6.


Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

By Lynne Jonell

When Emmy discovers that she and her formerly loving parents are being

drugged by their evil nanny with rodent potions that can change people in

frightening ways, she and some new friends must try everything possible to

return things to normal.


The Tail of Emily Windsnap

By Liz Kessler

After finally convincing her mother that she should take swimming lessons,

twelve year old Emily discovers a terrible and wonderful secret about

herself that opens up a whole new world.


The Green Glass Sea

By Ellen Klages

Dewey Kerrigan, an eleven year old

in 1943, sets out on a train headed west

to go live with her father, a scientist involved in a top secret government



By Gordon Korman

Homeschooled by his hippie grandmother, Cap Anderson has never watched

TV, tasted a pizza, or even heard of a wedgie. But when his grandmother

lands in the hospital, Cap is forced to move in with a guidance counselor and

attend the local middle school. While Cap knows a lot about tiedyeing


Zen Buddhism, no education could prepare him for public school.



By Gail Carson Levine

In a land where beauty and singing are valued above all else, Aza eventually

comes to reconcile her unconventional appearance and her magical voice,

and learns to accept herself for who she truly is.


Travel Team

By Mike Lupica

After he is cut from his travel basketball team the

very same team that his

father once led to national prominence twelve year old

Danny Walker forms his own team of castoffs

that might have a shot at victory.


The Merchant of Death: Pendragon #1

By D.J. MacHale

Bobby Pendragon is a seemingly normal and somewhat reluctant 14yearold

boy who suddenly discovers he has the ability to transport to other

worlds where he has a quest to fulfill.



By Robin McKinley

When Jake Mendoza, who lives in the Smokehill National Park where his

father runs the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies, goes on

his first solo overnight in the park, he finds an infant dragon whose mother

has been killed by a poacher.


The Candy Shop War

By Brandon Mull

When fifth graders

Nate, Summer, Trevor, and Pigeon meet the owner of the

new candy store in town and are given a magical candy that endows them

with super powers, they find that along with its benefits there are also

dangerous consequences.


Wolf Brother: Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1

By Michelle Paver

6,000 years in the past, twelve year old

Tarak and his guide, a wolf cub, set

out on a dangerous journey to fulfill an oath the boy made to his dying

father to travel to the Mountain of the World Spirit seeking a way to

destroy a demonpossessed bear that threatens all the clans.



How to Steal a Dog

By Barbara O’Connor

Living in their car after their father leaves them virtually penniless,

Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her

overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to

help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then

claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer.


Paint the Wind

By Pam Munoz Ryan

After her overprotective grandmother has a stroke, Maya, an orphan, leaves

her extremely restricted life in California to stay with her mother's family on

a remote Wyoming ranch, where she discovers a love of horses and

encounters a wild mare that her mother once rode.


The Wednesday Wars

By Gary D. Schmidt

During the 1967 school year, on Wednesday afternoons when all his

classmates go to either Catechism or Hebrew school, seventh grader

Holling Hoodhood stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom where they read the plays of

Shakespeare and Holling learns much of value about the world he lives in.



By Jerry Spinelli

Mourning the loss of his mother, nineyearold

David forms an unlikely

friendship with independent, quirky thirteenyearold

Primrose, as the two help each other deal with what is missing in their lives.


The Mysterious Benedict Society

By Trenton Lee Stewart

After passing a series of mindbending

tests, four children are selected for a

secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute

for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.


Tiger: The Five Ancestors #1

By Jeff Stone

Five young warriormonk

brothers survive an insurrection and must use the

ancient arts to avenge their Grandmaster.

Hitler’s Canary

By Sandi Toksvig

Ten year old Bamse and his Jewish friend Anton participate in the Danish

Resistance during World War II.


A Crooked Kind of Perfect

By Linda Urban


Zoe Elias, who longs to play the piano but must resign herself

to learning the organ, instead, finds that her music has a positive impact on

her workaholic mother, her jittery father, and her school social life.

Way Down Deep

By Ruth White

In the West Virginia town of Way Down Deep in the 1950s, a foundling

called Ruby June is happily living with Miss Arbutus at the local boarding

house when suddenly, after the arrival of a family of outsiders, the mystery

of Ruby's past begins to unravel.


Leepike Ridge

By N.D. Wilson

While his widowed mother continues to search for him, elevenyearold

Tom, presumed dead after drifting away down a river, finds himself trapped

in a series of underground caves with another survivor and a dog, and

pursued by murderous treasurehunters.